Book Review: Life in Year One: What the World was Like in First-Century Palestine

Scott Korb is an author with a lot of interest in imaginative and factual history such that he is able to help the reader of the book “Life in year one: what the world was like in the first-century Palestine” visualize the exact position and situation at the indicated time during and immediately after the time of Jesus. It is clear that there were many notable characteristics and events that may be easily identified at that moment which, in actual sense, were a major symbol of the generation at that moment.

One thing that stands clearly though from the author is that he is totally unwilling to talk about Jesus Himself at that moment since his main focus is not on Him but on those who stayed around him, especially those not affiliated to Him and His works at all.

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In fact, the author chooses to talk about the Palestinians, a community that was totally unacceptable to Jesus and which did not favor or even appreciate Him. They just saw Him as any other man. The book hence takes us through a tour of different issues such as the actual life for Palestinians during the time of Jesus, where people lived then, who the different people married as well as how they did it, what family life was like and how people survived, amongst other issues.

It also lays a lot of focus on the Jews themselves with a very clear perspective since it looks at them from a third eye outside the circles of Jews instead of it looking from the inside, a thing that could probably have watered down the whole essence of the book (Korb 12-37).

The main theme presented by the book is that of religion. The moment that the book is focusing on is the point of birth of the Christian religion, with its initiator being Jesus Christ Himself through His birth, works which many believe included many signs and wonders as well as His eventual death on the cross, a point at which many believe was the turning point and a beginning of the new religion. Religion is a strong and fundamental part of the society.

Except for very few religious groups and cults which actually believe in other things, most people actually portray the normal trend in which human beings wish to belong. The desire for belonging as well as the fundamental rules for which the name of the book exists are a few of the factors for which the whole place has been desired or undertaken so as to act as the ultimate reminder of the people in that generation and more so at that moment (Korb 41-66).

From evidence obtained, it is clear that the Jews used to uphold their religion with a lot of fear and uncertainty and to whatever levels irrespective of the expected rewards and challenges that arise due to the use of the book. Hence, it is impossible to separate the Jews from their religion since they were always ready and willing to sacrifice anything, including their lives, for the sake of the church and the whole Christian community.

Another theme that really caught the attention of the reader during the reading of the book is the one on money and wealth. The society at the moment was subdivided into different levels of earning and wealth levels.

The wealthy were treated with a lot of dignity and respect while the poor had it rough and had to keep on struggling in different areas of life such as acquiring of food, clothing, housing, basic education and medication. This is pretty similar to life today where there still is a large gap between the haves and the have-nots in Israel and Palestine (Korb 128-141).

Another very notable character was the one involving the issues of sicknesses and diseases and how they were dealt with, especially in efforts to try and cure those who were sick. Most people believed in the sovereignty of God and that He was the main focus in issues of healing and cure of diseases and hence they basically believed that only by faith and through recognizing Christ could one receive true healing of their sicknesses.

In addition, the book has laid a lot of emphasis on the way of life of the people in that generation. It is clear that the family life was organized in pretty the same way as today though there has been a lot of improves on the issues of marriage and the society.

The governance was however at a crossroads since the country had been seized by the Romans who were ruling at that moment. The country was to see some darker days as it was tossed from leader to leader and from a leadership to another. The country hence was quite unstable until later on in life.

The book hence offers clear eyesight into the society and the actual order of things during and immediately after Christ. It lets us have an experience of those who were around Jesus and the way they moved on with life.

Works Cited

Korb, Scott. Life in Year One: What the World was Like in First-Century Palestine. New York: Riverhead Hardcover, 2010.


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